For decades, nursing home residents have been the subject of abuse and neglect in facilities located all across the U.S. In fact, the problem is so severe that “the U.S. Department of Justice estimates that one in 10 older adults is a victim of elder abuse” [Source: Forbes]. While most associate abuse with physical contact, elderly individuals often become a victim of financial abuse while being cared for by a loved one and even while residing in a nursing home.
Did you know that it has been estimated that “older adults lose $2.9 billion a year through financial abuse?”
Other Shocking Elder Abuse Statistics You Didn’t Know
· The “majority of cases of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of older adults in the United States go unidentified and unreported.”· “Elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation have no boundaries and cross all racial, social, class, gender, and geographic lines.”· Elderly individuals who are the victim of abuse are “three times more likely to die earlier than older adults of the same age who are not abused.”· “Up to half of all older adults with dementia will experience abuse.”
[Source: Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act].
Elder abuse is increasing at alarming rates and more and more vulnerable individuals are being mistreated, physically abused, injured, and even killed by the healthcare workers who are employed within the nursing homes that are entrusted to care for aging individuals. So, now that we know that elder abuse is an issue, what is being done to combat it?
- In 2018, the Trump Administration signed the Senior Safe Act which is a “landmark law [that] exempts financial institutions and their employees from liability when trained employees report potential exploitation of an older adult to a governmental agency.” AARP highlighted that prior to the passing of this Act, banks were discouraged from “reporting that an older adult might be the victim of fraud” as they risked being sued. However, the new law that was created is geared toward helping financial institutions feel more like an ally and less like a suspect when financial elder abuse may have transpired within their institution.
· The Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act was signed into law in 2018 and it aims “to prevent elder abuse and exploitation and improve the justice system’s response to victims in elder abuse and exploitation cases.”
· Facility inspections continue to occur. There are several agencies, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, that come out to conduct inspections in nursing homes all across the U.S. to determine if regulations are being met. When an inspector finds that one or more rules or regulations aren’t being followed, the facility is cited and required to correct the issue. Unfortunately, many facilities do find ways to get these fines lowered and are still able to remain opened and in operation despite the unhealthy or unsafe conditions they subject their residents to live in.
Although efforts are being made to curb nursing home abuse, it still remains a problem that is causing our aging population living in these facilities to suffer. So, if you have a loved one who currently resides in a nursing home in Chicago, IL and are interested in learning more about what you can do to help recognize and address this issue, below we have shared with you a few suggestions for you.
What can you do to help recognize nursing home abuse and combat it?
Each year on June 15th, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) along with other federal and aging partners commemorate World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) to “raise awareness about the millions of older adults who experience elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation.” On WEAAD, there are hundreds of activities that are held all over the U.S. for individuals to take part in so that more people can become aware that elder abuse exists and is responsible for harming the vulnerable individuals who make up our aging population.
If you are interested in learning more about what activities are available in your area, you can click here to access a list of them. Aside from commemorating WEAAD, you are also encouraged to raise awareness about nursing home abuse among those you know both before and after June 15th.
What steps should I take if I think my loved one is being mistreated in the nursing home they are living in?
Although there are a number of initiatives that have been put into place to stop and even prevent elder abuse, it still occurs in our nursing homes here in Chicago, IL. So, if you have an inclination that your loved one is not being cared for properly or is even being harmed or neglected, we encourage you to contact Dinizulu Law Group, Ltd. now so that you can discuss your concerns with a qualified Chicago, IL nursing home abuse attorney.
You can contact Dinizulu Law Group, Ltd. at:
221 North La Salle Drive, Suite 1100
Chicago, IL 60601